Originally created 02/08/00

Olin to pay environmental fines



Olin Chemical's Augusta plant will pay $46,500 in fines for environmental violations involving the failure to submit proper documentation for how it disposes of certain hazardous wastes.

According to a consent order agreed to by Georgia Environmental Protection Division Director Harold Reheis and Olin plant Manager Brian Pearson, the fines must be paid within 30 days.

Harry Wade, environmental manager at the plant on Doug Barnard Parkway, said the violations are related to disposal of cleaning solvents and paint waste, but do not involve chemicals manufactured at the plant.

"Basically, we were innocently, if you will, not handling some solvents correctly," Mr. Wade said. The violations came to light during an EPD inspection in April.

Olin uses the toxic solvent trichloroethylene to clean equipment, and the company failed to dispose of contaminated rags under the rules for managing hazardous waste, the order said.

Similarly, methyl ethyl ketone, a toxic solvent used to clean painting equipment, also was being disposed of without proper documentation required of hazardous waste materials, the order said.

"We should have been managing it one way, and we were managing it a different way," Mr. Wade said, adding that the deficiencies noted by EPD have since been corrected.

Olin's 506-acre Augusta plant also is in its third decade of a cleanup involving mercury sludge that seeped into ground water long ago -- before federal laws regulated the disposal of waste chemicals.

The fines are unrelated to that program, which has proceeded with a near-perfect compliance history dating back almost 25 years.

The mercury cleanup program remains under way at the plant, with more than 100 test wells that monitor the quality and flow of ground water. That cleanup is expected to continue, possibly until the year 2017.

REACH

Robert Pavey at (706) 868-1222,

Ext. 119, or rpavey@augustachronicle.com.